Check Smoke Detector & Carbon Monoxide Alarms This Weekend
The New Jersey Division of Fire Safety (NJDFS) reminds residents that the end of daylight saving time this Sunday, November 6 is a good time to check your smoke and carbon monoxide (CO) alarms.
"Daylight saving time, which happens this weekend, is an important reminder to check your smoke and CO alarms to make sure they are in good working order," said Lt. Governor Sheila Oliver, who serves as the Commissioner of the Department of Community Affairs (DCA), which oversees NJDFS. "Functioning smoke and CO alarms are proven life-savers. It's worth taking 10 minutes out of your day to check them to ensure your family and home are protected."
NJDFS Director and State Fire Marshal Richard Mikutsky advises that the following steps should be followed when assessing and examining smoke alarms in your home:
- Install smoke alarms in every bedroom, outside each separate sleeping area, and on every level of the home, including the basement.
- Smoke alarms with non-replaceable (long-life) batteries are designed to remain effective for up to 10 years. If the alarm chirps, warning that the battery is low, replace the entire smoke alarm right away.
- Be sure the smoke alarm includes the label of a recognized testing laboratory.
- Replace smoke alarms every 10 years. Replace them with 10-year sealed battery models.
- Develop and practice a home escape plan with all members of the household.
- Close interior doors before going to bed.
- Check the exhaust screen on home clothes dryers and remove accumulated lint, which is a common fire hazard in the home.
"In addition to checking smoke and CO alarms, it is also important to create and practice a fire escape plan," said State Fire Marshal Mikutsky. "You only have a few minutes to get out safely once the smoke alarm goes off."
He offers the following tips:
- Know at least two ways out of your home, if possible. Make sure all doors and windows leading outside open easily.
- Have an outside meeting place at a safe distance from the home where everyone should meet.
- Practice your home fire drill at night and during the day with everyone in your home twice a year.
- Practice using different ways out.
- Teach children how to escape on their own in case you can't help them.
- Close doors behind you as you leave.
As of January 1, 2019, the New Jersey Uniform Fire Code (UFC) requires a certificate of smoke alarm compliance before any person may sell, lease or change occupancy of any one-family or two-family dwelling in the state. The owner of the property may only obtain a certificate of compliance through the borough or township having jurisdiction over the home's location. A smoke alarm certificate is valid for six months from the date of issue.
A homeowner or property renter must install a smoke alarm on each floor of a residential dwelling, including the basement, common stairwells, and hallways, and at a maximum of 10 feet outside of each separate sleeping area.
The law does not require the interconnection of smoke alarms. Alarms may use battery power or operate on 120-volt house current.
The Division of Fire Safety serves as the central fire service agency in the state. The Division is responsible for the development and enforcement of the State Uniform Fire Code, as well as engaging the public on community risk reduction strategies, assisting in fire department preparedness, and conducting firefighter training programs.
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